Stewarts employment partner Richard Nicolle recently took part in a Law Society Gazette employment roundtable.

“How long can 10 employment lawyers hold a conversation without mentioning Brexit?” asked the Law Society Gazette in an article on the roundtable.

The answer, “about three seconds”, will come as no surprise. After discussing issues relating to rights of residence, Richard pointed to the “huge amount of uncertainty” about rights.

The Gazette’s article states:

“All eyes are on the government,” [Nicolle] says: “Theresa May has said we want to protect workers’ rights, [and that] there’s going to be a minimum, indeed maybe additional, protection.

“But you have to look at the very strong influence of the ‘hard Brexiteers’ in the cabinet. They would relish a move to a low-tax, low-regulated economic model where workers’ rights probably wouldn’t be sacrosanct.”

Nicolle believes there is ‘every prospect’ of negotiations going badly for the UK. In that event, policymakers will ask what alternatives exist for the UK to remain competitive.

One of them could be a race to the bottom on rights.

The wide-ranging discussion covered the gig economy, Tribunal fees, changes to the qualifying period, protected conversations and redundancy consultations.

After one member of the roundtable suggested that redundancy consultations are a sham and “business-driven”, the Gazette reports that Richard responded as follows:

“I agree in 95%, maybe 99%, of cases,” Nicolle replies. “But there’s always that case of the individual who says during individual consultation, ‘Well, have you taken into account the fact that I had a poor sickness absence [record] because of treatment for ‘X’ or ‘Y’ or these particular circumstances? Have you considered whether the pool for redundancy selection has been appropriately formulated and should I be considered alongside ‘X’ or alongside ‘Y’?’.

“I have seen employees who’ve raised these issues and who have potentially benefited, but also employers who have had matters brought to their attention which potentially saved them, perversely, from an unfair dismissal, because of a flaw in the process.”

To read the full article about the roundtable in The Law Society Gazette, click here – Roundtable: employment



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